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European retailers strike early with sales after autumn disappoints

Some European stores have flung the doors open for the winter sales ahead of Christmas, desperate to rid themselves of unwanted inventory.


Early Sales in Britain  Retail Markets


The mild autumn and early winter means consumers stayed away from the shops. It was more ice cream weather, which means there are bargains galore for the shrewd shopper in the UK.

“The level of discounting has certainly been higher this year than we’ve seen in previous years and that’s partly down to unseasonably warm weather. Clothing and footwear retailers have had to enter their sales earlier to capitalise on the demand that is there at Christmas and try and get some of that build-up of stock out the door,” said retail analyst Nick Carroll.

Fashion-conscious France was also feeling the unseasonal heat, but spirits there were also dampened because of fears of terrorist attacks in crowded public places, and time-consuming stricter bag controls. Online sales have boomed.

“The rebound now is slower than after the January Charlie Hebdo attacks. January is normally the perfect sales time but now is also because it is the end of the year and we have noticed a small change in consumers’ and clients’ behaviour,” said Printemps department store General Manager Pierre Pellarey.

The French retail market has been hit by a year bookending double-whammy of public outrages keeping consumers home at peak demand periods, which will certainly hit 2015’s consumer spending figures weakening France’s already sluggish economic performance.

Source: euronews




Strikes at Amazon German warehouses up to Christmas

Amazon Workers Strike In Germany 

Workers at German warehouses of U.S. online retailer Inc were called out on a new strike by labor union Verdi on Monday as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Verdi said in a statement that workers at six of the nine Amazon warehouses were joining the strike, which will run until Dec. 24 at four of the centers and for shorter periods at the others.

Germany is Amazon's second-biggest market after the United States with 10,000 warehouse staff plus more than 10,000 seasonal workers.

A Verdi spokeswoman said the union expected a similar number of workers to join the strike as previously, when hundreds of staff walked off the job at several warehouses.

But an Amazon spokeswoman said only a small minority of staff were on strike.

"There is absolutely no impact on our customer delivery promise. The vast majority of our employees are working," she said, noting that Amazon uses a network of 29 warehouses across Europe to fulfill orders.

Verdi has organized frequent strikes at Amazon since May 2013 as it seeks to force the retailer to raise pay for warehouse workers in accordance with collective bargaining agreements in Germany's mail order and retail industry.

Verdi said on Monday Amazon employees suffered from excessive pressure, rigid workplace controls, high sickness rates and arbitrary decisions, such as a cut in annual holidays at the Leipzig warehouse to 28 days from a previous 29 days.

Amazon has repeatedly rejected the union's demands, saying it regards warehouse staff as logistics workers.

In a statement on Monday, Amazon said it had created more than 800 extra permanent jobs in its German warehouses this year, with many of the new employees starting as seasonal workers during the Christmas trade.

It said entry wages were equivalent to at least 10 euros ($10.86) gross per hour, which it said was at the upper end of what other companies paid for comparable jobs.

Source: reuters






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